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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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2015 Timeline of Important Events in LGBT Equality

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LGBT Visibility

The Amazon show Transparent wins the Golden Globe for Best Comedy. Matt Bomer wins Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Normal Heart.

Read more January 12
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Driggs, Idaho passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more January 11
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HIV/AIDS

New York City Health Department launches a new PrEP & PEP campaign: "New Ways to Prevent HIV" to support the distribution of pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP), that help prevent the transmission of HIV.

Read more January 12
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South Dakota Marriage Ban

A federal judge strikes down South Dakota's ban on marriage equality.

Read more January 12
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Michigan Marriage

A federal judge orders Michigan to recognize the 300 marriages performed after the state's ban on marriage was overturned in March of 2014.

Read more January 14
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Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court agrees to take the marriage equality cases in the 6th Circuit, involving the freedom to marry in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

Read more January 16
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State of the Union

For the first time in a State of the Union address, President Obama uses the words "lesbian," "bisexual," and "transgender."

Read more January 20
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Chicago prohibits profiling of transgender people

The Chicago City Council passes an ordinances that adds "gender identity" and "national origin" to an existing city ordinance prohibiting police profiling based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, military discharge, marital, and financial or parental status.

Read more January 21
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Employment Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Justice files a brief in an employment discrimination case involving Saks Fifth Avenue, supporting gender identity inclusion in Title VII sex discrimination protections. Saks withdraws its motion asserting that federal protections do not exist for transgender employees.

Read more January 26
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Southfield, Michigan passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more January 28
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Alabama Marriage

Marriage equality comes to Alabama when the Supreme Court denies the Alabama Attorney General's request for a stay of the order overturning the state ban on the freedom to marry.

Read more February 9
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Kansas Nondiscrimination

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issues an executive order stripping gender identity and sexual orientation from the classes of protected Kansas government employees.

Read more February 10
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Eureka Springs, Arkansas passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more February 10
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Thurmond, West Virgina, a town of five people, passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more February 12
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LGBT Visibility

Oregon elects Kate Brown, the nation's first openly bisexual governor.

Read more February 18
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Protections for homeless

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development releases long-awaited guidance to ensure equal access for transgender people in homeless shelters.

Read more February 20
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Family and Medical Leave Act Updated

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act is updated to apply to all legally-married same-sex couples regardless of their state of residence.

Read more February 23
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Arkansas Prohibits Nondiscrimination Protections

Arkansas enacts a law prohibiting localities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances stronger than the state's, effectively permitting LGBT discrimination. This invalidates the Eureka Apring ordinance, passed on the 10th.

Read more February 24
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Special LGBT Envoy

For the first time, the U.S. appoints a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons.

Read more February 24
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Boynton Beach, Florida passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more March 5
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Utah Nondiscrimination

Utah passes a LGBT nondiscrimination law with very broad religious exemptions.

Read more March 13
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

East Grand Rapids, Michigan passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more March 17
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Transgender Healthcare

A federal court rules that non-discrimination language on the basis of sex in the Affordable Care Act prohibits anti-transgender bias in the health care system.

Read more March 19
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Transgender Healthcare

Connecticut removes its exclusions on coverage for transition-related healthcare for transgender people.

Read more March 25
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Religious Exemption Laws

Arkansas' and Indiana's governors sign laws enshrining religious exemptions into law.

Read more March 31
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Indiana Nondiscrimination Law

Indiana's governor signs update to the recent religious exemption law, claiming that update protects LGBT people from discrimination.

Read more April 2
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Transgender Healthcare

A California court orders the California California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide comprehensive healthcare, including transition-related care, to a transgender woman serving in men's prison.

Read more April 2
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Arkansas Religious Exemption

Arkansas passes an update to its recent religious exemption law.

Read more April 3
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Transgender Employment Discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds that the Army discriminated against a civilian transgender women when they prohibited her from accessing the women's restroom.

Read more April 8
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Conversion Therapy

White House calls for an end to harmful conversion therapy practices for LGBT youth.

Read more April 9
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Local Nondiscrimination Law

Comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination protections are repealed in Springfield, Missouri.

Read more April 8
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Transgender Employment Discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is successful in one of its first suits against transgender employment discrimination. The Commission finds that Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination in employment includes gender identity.

Read more April 13
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Hailey, Idaho passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more April 21
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Transgender Employment Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Labor strengthens personnel guidance, prohibiting gender stereotyping.

Read more April 23
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Transgender Healthcare

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management "strongly encourages" but does not require federal employee health plans to cover trans-inclusive healthcare

Read more April 3
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Marriage Equality Arguments

The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case for the nation-wide freedom to marry.

Read more April 28
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Job Corps Training

The Job Corps programs through the Department of Labor will no longer permit discrimination against students on the basis of gender identity.

Read more May 5
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LGBT Students and Religious Exemptions

A law in the District of Columbia protecting LGBT students from discrimination in religious schools becomes law after Congress fails to block it.

Read more May 6
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LGB Service Members

The Pentagon adds "sexual orientation" to the military's nondiscrimination policies.

Read more May 9
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Laramie, Wyoming, Matthew Shepard's hometown, passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more May 13
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Greenacres, Florida passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more May 19
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LGBT Students

Nevada passes a comprehensive anti-bullying law including protections for LGBT students.

Read more May 20
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Conversion Therapy

Oregon becomes the third state to prohibit harmful conversion therapy practices for LGBT youth.

Read more May 20
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Leesburg, Florida passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more May 29
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Midway, Kentucky passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more June 1
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Military Service

The Department of Defense adds sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in the military's equal opportunity policy.

Read more June 5
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Marriage and Religious Exemptions

The North Carolina legislature overrides the governor's veto to pass a law permitting magistrates to decline to marry couples if they have a religious objection.

Read more June 11
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Foster Youth and Religious Exemptions

Michigan enacts a law permitting faith-based foster and adoption agencies to decline to serve youth and families based on religious objections

Read more June 11
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Bellvue, Idaho passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more June 15
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Bexley, Ohio passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more June 23
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Nationwide Marriage Equality

The Supreme Court rules that marriage is a fundamental right for all Americans, granting the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in every state.

Read more June 26
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LGBT Students

The U.S. Department of Justice files brief in students' case, arguing that Title IX requires transgender students to be allowed to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity.

Read more June 29
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HIV/AIDS

Florida's HIV/AIDS testing law goes into effect, removing burdensome requirements for HIV testing from state law.

Read more July 1
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Transgender Healthcare

Nevada removes its exclusions on coverage for transition-related healthcare for transgender people.

Read more July 2
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Kansas Religious Exemptions

The governor of Kansas issues an executive order prohibiting the state from taking any adverse action against faith-based organization that refuse to serve same-sex married couples.

Read more July 7
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Identity Documents

West Virginia modernizes its policies for obtaining driver's licenses.

Read more July 7
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Delray Beach, Florida passes a local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more July 8
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North Carolina Marriage

Fourteen magistrates (2%) have declined to perform marriages under North Carolina's new religious exemption law, as of July 9th.

Read more July 9
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HIV Criminalization

Michael Johnson is sentenced to 30 years in prison in HIV-criminalization case.

Read more July 13
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Transgender Military Service

The U.S. Department of Defense announces a process to allow transgender service members to serve openly after a feasibility study.

Read more July 13
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LGBT Visibility

Caitlyn Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs.

Read more July 15
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Sexual Orientation Employment Discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission holds that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex and is thus prohibited under Title VII.

Read more July 16
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Equality Act

Comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination legislation is introduced in the U.S. House and Senate.

Read more July 23
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Houston Nondiscrimination Ordinance

A Texas judges rules that the Houston LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance must be repealed or put on the ballot. The ordinance is put on hold in the meantime.

Read more July 24
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Transgender Students

A Virgina judge rules that Title IX's prohibition on sex discrimination does not include gender identity

Read more July 27
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HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care

The White House releases its National Strategy for the United States: 2015-2020.

Read more July 30
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LGBT Students

The U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics announces it will ask about anti-LGBT bias in schools and the existence of supportive student clubs in the 2016 and 2018 School Survey on Crime and Safety.

Read more August 15
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Osceola County, Florida passes a county LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more August 17
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Identity Documents

Massachusetts updates its policies for changing the gender marker on a birth certificate.

Read more August 20
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Conversion Therapy

Illinois bans harmful conversion therapy practices for LGBT youth.

Read more August 20
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Marriage and Religious Exemptions

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis refuses to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples and is jailed.

Read more September 3
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Transgender Healthcare

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issues a proposed rule to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in healthcare and by health insurers.

Read more September 3
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Sedona, Arizona passes an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more September 8
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Wellington, Florida passes an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more September 10
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Columbus, Indiana passes an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more September 15
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LGBT Visibility

Amanda Simpson is sworn in as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, making her the highest serving transgender person in the Obama Administration.

Read more September 18
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Bisexual Policy

The White House hosts a public policy briefing on issues impacting bisexual people.

Read more September 21
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Anchorage, Alaska passes an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, the first in Alaska.

Read more September 29
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Carmel, Indiana passes an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, the first in Alaska.

Read more October 5
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

North Port, Florida passes an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more October 27
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Local Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Mascotte, Florida passes an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more November 2
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Houston Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Houston residents vote to repeal Houston's LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

Read more November 3
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LGBT Visibility

President Obama appoints Eric Fanning as Acting Army Secretary, making him the highest serving openly-LGBT person in the military.

Read more November 3
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LGBT Refugees

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration says that refugees can now bring their same-sex partners to the U.S., even if they are not legally married.

Read more November 6
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LGBT Visibility

Jackie Biskupski is elected the first out lesbian mayor of Salt Lake City.

Read more November 17
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Transgender Healthcare

Maryland officials announce the state will be expanding its Medicaid coverage to transgender patients, including coverage for transition-related care.

Read more November 19
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Transgender Homelessness

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposes a rule to strengthen shelter protections on the basis of gender identity.

Read more November 20
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Transgender Healthcare

Rhode Island officials say that transgender health insurance exclusions are prohibited under state law.

Read more November 25
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Final Section

This is the content of the last section

Feb 26

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